Long Live GURU

Originally published 12 April 2001 as a Tech Reflections article for Low End Mac.

Newer Technology, as many of you know by now, ceased its operations recently. As of yesterday, their web site (formerly at http://www.newertech.com) seems to be permanently gone. With it goes one of the most useful Mac utilities ever developed: the Guide to RAM Upgrades, more affectionately known as GURU.

What was GURU? It was the one resource for RAM upgrade information for the Mac that I never, in six years of using it for nearly every Mac ever made, found to be wrong. It was a small, standalone application that would run on just about any Mac ever made. (Though the documentation makes no note of it, I believe its requirement is simply System 7 and 1 MB free RAM for the latest version.) GURU contained helpful upgrade notes and miscellany about computers Apple has long since abandoned. Maclone RAM upgrade information was extensive.

So what happened? Well, Newer Tech ran out of money and NewerRAM, the company that seems to have "taken over" GURU, has moved GURU to a web-based format at gurulounge.net. While I'm sure that updating the web-based version will be easier for the NewerRAM folks (and is, in fact, one of the specific reasons they mention for discontinuing the downloadable version), it creates a whole host of problems. What if I want to look up RAM info at home but don't have a Net connection? With the standalone version, I can just open it up on my network (I keep a copy on my home network server) and check it out. I can't do that with the new version. How about if I'm somewhere with no Net access at all? I can bring along my copy on disk (on my laptop), but people who didn't download GURU earlier are out of luck.

The worst part is NewerRAM has no good excuse for dropping the old version entirely. Why not just leave version 2.9 available for download and discontinue updates to it? Just a thought, folks.

But it's not all bad news. I just re-read the "Read the GURU FAQ" file for GURU 2.9 that I downloaded sometime last summer, just after its release. I quote from it:

"What will this little jewel cost me? Zip. Nada. Nothing. Zero...Please feel free to use this software to your heart's content. Also, feel free to pass it along to your friends."

Given the distribution policy outlined above, I see no reason why NewerRAM's oversight should affect the rest of us. Therefore, Low End Mac is posting GURU 2.9 for free download (212K). We're also making GURU 2.8 available for free download (226K); this was the last version compatible with 680x0 processors.

RIP, GURU! Long live GURU!

copyright ©2000-2004 by Chris Lawson